Meals for Kids and COVID-19: What is the Status of School Meals in North Carolina?


Although schools in North Carolina are currently closed because of COVID-19, schools districts and community partners are still serving meals for kids through the Summer Food Service Program, the same program that meets the need when school is out for summer.

Timeline

On Saturday, March 14, 2020, Governor Roy Cooper announced an executive order closing schools from March 16 to March 30. He also directed NCDPI, the NC Department of Health and Human Services, and the NC State Board of Education to work together on measures providing for the health, nutrition, and safety of children during school closures.

During the first week of school closures because of COVID-19, more than 1.2 million meals were served to kids at more than 1,000 sites across the state.

On Monday, March 23, 2020, Governor Cooper announced that North Carolina school closures were being extended to Friday, May 15.

Timeline

On Thursday, March 12, 2020, NCDPI, School Nutrition Division, received waiver approval from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) that allows schools closed due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) to serve meals to students through the National School Lunch Program’s Seamless Summer Option (SSO) or through the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) in a non-congregate setting. Important to note about USDA’s decision to use federal funding from the summer meals program during this time of school closures: The program provides reimbursement to approved sponsors to serve meals at no cost to children ages 18 and younger, which includes school students and children not yet in school.

On Friday, March 21, 2020, the USDA issued three new nationwide waivers using the authority granted by H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. These waivers provide flexibilities necessary for child nutrition programs to continue operating and serving children while limiting the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, March 25, 2020, the U.S. Department of Agriculture issued three new nationwide waivers using the authority granted by H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. These waivers provide flexibilities necessary for child nutrition programs to continue operating and serving children while limiting the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Information on additional COVID-19-related waivers and flexibilities active in North Carolina can be found at the USDA Food and Nutrition Service website.

COVID-19 Response: Find Meals for Kids

Currently, the best source of information on how meals are available for your students is your school or district’s website, social media, and direct communications.


COVID-19 Response Home

How to Find Meals for Kids

Map of Pick-Up Locations

How Can I Help?

Resources for Meal Sponsors

Timeline: What is the Status of School Meals in NC?